The conservation director of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Jared Bosire on Wednesday raised alarm on declining wildlife population in Kenya.
Bosire told a media briefing in Nairobi that Kenya’s wildlife population was decreasing at a faster rate compared to that of global decline.
“We are appealing to government to put in place mechanisms to reverse the decline of wildlife population given its importance to ecosystems,” Bosire said during the launch of the WWF Living Planet report in Kenya.
According to the report, global stock of wildlife could reduce by 67 percent between 1970 and 2020.
Bosire said that Kenya’s elephant population has reduced from approximately 170,000 in the 1970s to 35,000 currently.
Similarly the rhino population declined from an estimated 20,000 to just over 600 currently, he said.
The WWF says that the loss of wildlife habitat is one of the key drivers of the rapid reduction of major species.
“All the major forests have registered a decline largely due to the conversation of land from animal conservation to agricultural purposes,” Bosire said.
The Mau forest complex, which is Kenya’s biggest natural water tower, has been severely degraded in the past decades due to human encroachment, according to the WWF.
“The forest is home to forest elephants whose population has reduced significantly,” Bosire said.
He added that the tourism sector, which is one of the biggest sources of foreign exchange for Kenya, depended heavily on wildlife resources.
The WWF also noted the role of climate change in reducing the population of wildlife in Kenya.
“Drought caused by climate change is resulting in wildlife deaths due to reducing amounts of water resources,” Bosire said.